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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 32.djvu/704

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I left Nassau on the 3d of June, and, having called at several places on the way, dropped anchor at Bustick Point on the evening of Monday, the 6th of June. Bustick Point is on the island of Abaco, the eastern side of which is fringed with a line of bays forming an almost uninterrupted belt of land, with a few deep passages through which ships can enter. On two of these bays are built the settlements of Hope Town and Green Turtle Bay, the principal towns of Abaco. Between the bays and the shore of the island the beautifully clear water of the Bahamas is always smooth, and the sailing is delightful, the changing views of island and bays affording constant interest.

We had arranged with two guides to meet us, and at 5 a. m. on the 7th of June we landed. I was accompanied by Lord George FitzGerald, and Lieutenant Robertson, Second West Lidia Regiment. The air was still, but the morning was fresh and bright, and the walk across the island was most enjoyable. The ground was picturesquely rugged, and the path led up and down and around low hills planted with pineapples, of which great heaps of the full but green fruit were piled upon the shore ready for shipment, while the golden hue of the fruit with which the trees were still crowned showed that much of the crop was already too ripe to bear the voyage to a foreign market. All the care of cultivation could not keep down the creepers of all kinds that covered every available stump; white and purple passion-flowers and wild grape-vine fringed the path. Convolvuli of various hues opened their bell-shaped flowers to the morning sun, while the broad, green leaves of the bananas planted here and there were jeweled along the edges with sparkling dew-drops.

Beyond the pine-field we entered a thick wood, completely carpeted with maiden-hair and other ferns, while almost every tree was laden with orchids. Over the crest of the hill the scene changed. The wood ended and the path plunged downward through bracken so thick and so high that the morning-glory climbed the stem to thrust its bright, blue bells into the fresh morning air. One expected to see the deer start from its lair, and nothing was wanting, save the melody from the woods, to fancy one's self in an English park on a summer morning.

Beneath us the broad, lake-like lagoon stretched away to the dim distance. Not a ripple ruffled its surface, and on its calm breast, as in a mirror, were reflected two rocky islets, whose precipitous sides were crowned with a tropical wealth of vegetation, while over them wheeled in graceful circles a pair of "johnny-crows" found in the Bahamas on the islands of Abaco, Andros, and Bahama only. Away on the horizon to the west were low clumps of mangroves showing where the flat banks of marl begin among the lagoons of which the flamingoes build.

Fastened among the great mangrove-trees that here fringe the